|Birth Day:||February 9, 1987|
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She started training for biathlons when she was nine years old and won five junior world championship titles from 2004 to 2006.
In the following World Cups, she won the sprint races in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and in Khanty-Mansiysk—her tenth and eleventh World Cup victories. With a second-place finish in the penultimate mass start race of the season, Neuner won the 2007–08 Mass start World Cup. At the season final in Oslo, she also claimed the season's Sprint World Cup and took over the yellow bib of the Overall World Cup leader for the first time in her career. In the last race of the season, a ninth place in the mass start ensured Neuner the 2007–08 Overall Biathlon World Cup victory. She was the youngest Overall World Cup winner since the International Biathlon Union was established in 1993.
Neuner started biathlon when she was nine years old after she had participated in a try out course at her local ski club. She won 29 races at the biathlon Student's Cup of the German Ski Association (DSV), claiming the overall title in her respective age-group for four years in a row from 1999 to 2002. After finishing school, Neuner joined the German Customs Administration in August 2003 to become a member in the government-supported Customs-Ski-Team (Zoll-Ski-Team). She officially holds the rank of Erste Zollhauptwachtmeisterin (first head customs officer), although she is a full-time professional athlete with no customs obligations. One of her team mates is alpine skiing world champion Maria Höfl-Riesch.
In December 2003, Neuner won the German Cup for 17-year-olds, which led to her appointment for the 2003–04 European Cup competition for juniors. With four wins at European level, Neuner qualified for the 2004 Junior/Youth World Championships in Haute Maurienne, France, where she won the sprint and relay events, as well as silver in the pursuit. One year later at the 2005 Junior/Youth World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland, she claimed two silver medals (pursuit and relay), and again won the sprint discipline. With her success at junior level, Neuner at 18 years old, was considered one of Germany's biggest biathlon talents ever. Even before achieving any results at senior level, she had signed a sponsorship deal.
Neuner has won seven gold and four silver medals at the Biathlon Junior/Youth World Championships. With the exception of the individual discipline, she has won a medal in every race she entered. In 2004, at her first junior world championships in Haute Maurienne, France, Neuner won two titles (sprint and relay). One year later, she claimed gold in the sprint race in Kontiolahti, Finland, and in 2006, she again won two titles (pursuit and relay) in Presque Isle, Maine, United States. Neuner did not participate in the 2007 event. She returned to the junior world championships in 2008 when they were held in Ruhpolding, Germany, winning two more gold medals (sprint and pursuit).
During the 2005–06 season, Neuner made her first appearances in the Biathlon World Cup. Germany's women's national coach Uwe Müßiggang had already considered her for the team two years earlier, however, her parents and her hometown coaches Bernhard Kröll and Herbert Mayer were reluctant to let her start prematurely. On 13 January 2006, Neuner made her debut in the World Cup sprint race in Ruhpolding, Germany, where she substituted for the injured Uschi Disl. Although her first appearance ended unsuccessfully, coming in 41st place, she was appointed for nine more World Cup races for the remainder of the season.
Neuner returned as one of the favourites at the 2006 Junior/Youth World Championships in Presque Isle, Maine, United States, where she won two more titles (pursuit and relay) in addition to a silver medal in the sprint race. She did not participate in the 2006 Winter Olympics for the German team. At the World Cup in Kontiolahti in March 2006, Neuner achieved her first top ten finishes: she was fourth in the sprint and came in ninth in the mass start race.
While she had only competed in ten races during her first World Cup winter, Neuner became a fixture in the German team in the 2006–07 season. She proved to be one of the fastest cross-country skiers in biathlon, and at 19 years old, regularly set the fastest course times. On 5 January 2007, Neuner won her first World Cup event, the sprint race in Oberhof, Germany. Her victory on home soil, before a crowd of 19,000 people, received considerable media attention and put her into the national spotlight for the first time. Two days later at the pursuit race, she forgot to reload her rifle after warm-up. She was handed a new magazine during the prone shooting and managed to finish third despite a total of six shooting errors.
Neuner was scheduled to compete at the junior world championships in 2007. However, following her first World Cup win, she was instead appointed for the senior World Championships in Antholz, Italy. On 3 February 2007, she won gold in the sprint, beating Sweden's Anna Carin Olofsson by 2.3 seconds. It was her first world championship event ever and only her second victory at senior level. One day later, she also claimed the pursuit title, in spite of four shooting errors. Following a 14th place in the mass start, Neuner, alongside Martina Beck, Andrea Henkel and Kati Wilhelm, also won gold in the relay race on 11 February 2007. With three titles, she was the championship's most successful athlete and became the youngest triple world champion.
At the end of the season, she continued her successful run with four more World Cup wins. In March 2007, Neuner won the pursuit and mass start races at Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway, and she won the sprint and pursuit events at the season final in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, giving her seven career World Cup wins. She ended her first complete season fourth in the Overall World Cup standings and finished second in the pursuit discipline. In the course of three months, Neuner had emerged from anonymity to become one of Germany's most popular female athletes. At the end of 2007, she had earned an estimated 1.3 million euros through sponsorship and endorsement deals.
After missing the podium at the 2007–08 season's first two World Cups, Neuner was part of Germany's winning relay team in Pokljuka, Slovenia in December 2007. She claimed her eighth World Cup win at the mass start in Oberhof in January 2008, and later that month won the relay race in Ruhpolding with the German team. Shortly before her 21st birthday, Neuner decided to again compete at the Junior/Youth World Championships, held in Ruhpolding in January 2008—the last time she was eligible to enter. She won gold in the sprint and the pursuit, but withdrew from the individual race to prepare for the senior world championships alongside her German team mates.
Neuner has won 6 races (all sprints) with a perfect shooting record: Khanty-Mansiysk sprint in March 2007, 2011 World Championship sprint and 4 sprints in her final 2011–12 season. She also shot clean on two other occasions, the sprint in Kontiolahti in March 2006, coming in fourth place, and the Östersund sprint in December 2008, finishing third. Her worst shooting performance came in December 2008, with a total of nine shooting errors at the World Cup pursuit in Hochfilzen. Neuner's costliest shooting occurred during a mass start race in Antholz in January 2009. After 15 clean shots, she was leading by 53.6 seconds before the final shooting, in which she missed all five targets, eventually dropping to sixth place.
Biathlon is the most popular winter sport in Germany. Each World Cup event is shown live on German television and the January World Cup races in Oberhof, Ruhpolding and Antholz are regularly seen by over five million viewers. Following her three world championship titles in 2007, Neuner quickly became one of Germany's most popular female sport stars, often nicknamed "Gold Lena" in the media. During her first two years in the spotlight she signed several endorsement deals and claimed numerous awards. Neuner's popularity grew further with her success during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Her second gold medal win in the Olympic mass start was seen live by 9.75 million television viewers (a 31.5 per cent market share), the most watched programme of the Games in Germany. Her withdrawal from the Olympic relay was one of the dominating stories of the Winter Olympics in Germany, leading to much media speculation whether pulling out had been entirely her decision. She later received the Fair Play medal of Germany's Olympic Society for setting an example of "team spirit".
Neuner won the Biathlon Award, chosen by the national coaches of the World Cup teams, for Female Athlete of the Year in both 2007 and 2008, and she was awarded the Goldener Ski (Golden Ski), the highest award of the German Ski Association in 2007, 2008 and 2010. The Forum Nordicum, a consortium of journalists form twelve countries, named her Biathlete of the Year in the 2007–08 and 2009–10 seasons, beating out her male counterparts Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Emil Hegle Svendsen respectively. Neuner was chosen as Germany's 2007 Sportswoman of the Year by the country's sports journalists. The following years, she came in third for the 2008 award and was voted in second place in 2010. Along with all Olympic medal winners, she received the Silberne Lorbeerblatt (Silver Laurel Leaf) in 2010, the highest state decoration for athletes in Germany. In 2011, readers of Germany's top selling newspaper Bild voted Neuner the seventh greatest German sportsperson of all time, and she was again named German Sportswoman of the Year. Nine months after her retirement, Neuner received Germany's Sportswoman of the Year award for a third time.
Neuner's interest in knitting has often been addressed by the German media and she maintains a knitting website, which includes detailed knitting instructions and a "knitting blog". She has stated that she usually takes knitting equipment on her travels during the season and that knitting is a way for her to relax. In 2007, Neuner declined an offer to appear nude in the German edition of Playboy. Outside of Germany, she is particularly popular in Russia, where she has a fan club and from where she has said to receive half of her fan mail. In 2010, Neuner appeared in an advertising campaign for a lingerie line. She explained she tried to use it in a deliberate attempt to correct her media image, after becoming irritated with her public persona of "little sweet Lena". She was an ambassador for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. and a member of the board of trustees for Munich's bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Leading up to the 2008 World Championships in Östersund, Sweden, Neuner tried to lower expectations, stating a repeat of last year's performance would be impossible. She failed to defend her titles in the sprint and pursuit races, with shooting errors preventing better results; she finished 17th and sixth respectively. On 12 February 2008, she won the mixed relay with Sabrina Buchholz, Andreas Birnbacher and Michael Greis to claim her first gold medal. Four days later, she won her second title in the mass start, beating Norway's Tora Berger by 3.0 seconds. She had four shooting errors compared to Berger's one and skied side by side with the Norwegian for most of the last lap, in what she later described as her hardest fought victory ever. Alongside Martina Beck, Andrea Henkel and Kati Wilhelm, Neuner also claimed gold in the relay race on 17 February 2008. By winning three more titles, she became the youngest six-time world champion, solidifying her status as Germany's biggest biathlon star.
Neuner's preparation for the 2008–09 season was affected by several illnesses. In the summer, she battled an intestinal fungus which forced her to pause training for seven weeks; she later attributed it to pressure of public expectations. In October 2008, she contracted influenza and in November, a bacterial infection caused her to miss two weeks of training. Subsequently, her ski speed saw a substantial drop at the start of the season. In the first four World Cups, Neuner only achieved two individual podiums; atypically courtesy of good shooting performances, not her skiing.
During three of her 32 World Cup wins (2007 World Championships pursuit, 2008 World Championships mass start, and 2009 Ruhpolding pursuit), Neuner skied three additional penalty loops compared to the second-place finisher. In March 2008, she came in second in the Khanty-Mansiysk mass start race, despite completing five penalty loops. She also reached third place in the Oberhof pursuit in January 2007 with six missed targets. At Neuner's first World Cup victory in the individual discipline in January 2010, she compensated for a total time penalty of two minutes on the 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) cross-country course (incurred by two additional shooting errors).
Neuner's shooting performances have been a regular topic in the German media. At times she has been reluctant to discuss her shooting in interviews and has said the public's fixation on it contributes to the problem. She has insisted her difficulties in the standing position are not due to technical weaknesses but psychological, and her training results are just as good as the results of her team mates. She explained in interviews that she had developed a fear of the standing shooting over time, knowing she had to justify herself after the race if she missed. In 2008, Neuner trained with Bundeswehr shooting coach and former large calibre world champion, Rudi Krenn, and subsequently changed her stance slightly. Since 2009, she has worked with a psychologist, primarily focusing on mental techniques to build her confidence on the shooting range. Her standing position average has improved from 60% to 75% from 2008 to 2011. Neuner has been wearing ear plugs during some of the races in order to better concentrate while shooting. The individual race, which places a high emphasis on shooting, has traditionally been her worst discipline (each shooting error results in a one-minute time penalty, instead of a penalty loop).
Following the Christmas break, her skiing times had improved. In Ruhpolding in January 2009, Neuner was part of the winning German relay team. She beat team mate Kati Wilhelm by 0.2 seconds in the Ruhpolding sprint and also won the following pursuit event, which marked her World Cup wins twelve and thirteen. Neuner again missed the podium in Antholz. She was leading the mass start by 53.6 seconds before the final shooting, in which she missed all five targets, eventually finishing sixth. This result received much public attention. She later described it as a pivotal moment in her career and called it the "total end of the world".
Neuner suffered further setbacks at the 2009 World Championships in Pyeongchang, where she struggled with a cold and a high number of shooting errors. She finished eighth in the sprint, in which she crashed on a downhill slope, and came in eleventh in the pursuit race. She was not appointed for the individual race and could not start in the mixed relay due to her cold. On 21 February 2009, Neuner claimed silver as part Germany's women's relay team, alongside Martina Beck, Andrea Henkel and Kati Wilhelm. On the last day of the championships, she came in seventh in the mass start race.
At the Olympic rehearsal in Vancouver, Canada, in March 2009, Neuner claimed the 2008–09 Individual World Cup, despite never having won a race in that discipline. She also won the Vancouver relay race with the German team, and was second in the sprint, 0.7 seconds behind Sweden's Helena Ekholm. At the season final in Khanty-Mansiysk, Neuner won the pursuit race—her 14th World Cup win. She ended the season fourth in the Overall Biathlon World Cup, which was generally considered disappointing in the media.
Neuner competed at the Summer Biathlon World Championships for the first time in September 2009 when they were held in Oberhof. She only reluctantly agreed to interrupt training and participate in the summer event, which is contested on roller ski, however she went on to win gold in all three competitions (sprint, pursuit and mixed relay). Neuner missed the first World Cup of the 2009–10 season due to a cold in December 2009. She returned at the following races in Hochfilzen, but was still affected by her cold and finished outside the top 20. Her first podiums of the winter came in Pokljuka, finishing third in the sprint and second in the pursuit race. Thereby she secured her Olympic qualification within the German team.
In December 2009, Neuner confirmed a romantic relationship with Josef Holzer, a school day friend from Wallgau. The couple were civilly married in March 2014 and have a daughter, Verena Anna (born 30 May 2014 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen) and a son, Josef Valentin (born 8 November 2016 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen). Their church wedding took place on 17 October 2015.
Shortly before the Oberhof sprint in January 2010, Neuner injured her back during warm-up and had to withdraw. She returned in Ruhpolding where she came in third in both the sprint and the mass start race. In her first relay of the season, she dealt a blow to the German team by incurring two penalty loops, with Germany finishing fourth eventually. With some top competitors missing in Antholz at the last World Cup before the 2010 Winter Olympics, Neuner won two events—the first individual race of her career as well as the sprint, giving her 16 career World Cup wins. She also came in second in the pursuit, which marked her seventh consecutive podium finish.
Neuner went into her first Winter Olympics in Vancouver with the declared aim of winning a gold medal. On 13 February 2010, she participated in the opening sprint, which was contested at Whistler Olympic Park in rainy conditions. With one shooting error, Neuner claimed the silver medal, finishing 1.5 seconds behind Slovakia's Anastasiya Kuzmina. She uncharacteristically lost five seconds against the unheralded Slovak on the cross-country course, which led to speculation of inferior ski preparation in the German media. Three days later, Neuner won gold in the subsequent pursuit race. Despite missing two targets in the standing position, she beat sprint winner Kuzmina by 12.3 seconds. In her third Olympic event, she finished tenth in the individual. She had three shooting mistakes and said it had been difficult for her to immediately get her concentration back after winning her first gold medal. On 21 February 2010, Neuner claimed her second gold of the Games in the mass start. After missing two targets, she had been trailing by as much as 29 seconds, but she pushed the pace and a clean final standing shoot allowed her to overtake Russia's Olga Zaitseva on the last lap. After the race, Neuner made the announcement not to participate in the relay, citing mental exhaustion and her desire to give all of her team mates the chance to win a medal. Her withdrawal allowed her friend Martina Beck a start in her last Olympic Games. Neuner was Germany's most successful athlete in Vancouver and was chosen to carry the German flag at the closing ceremony.
During the summer, Neuner admitted struggling for motivation for the upcoming season, having won every title in the sport at only 23 years old. However, she vowed to continue her career at least until the 2012 world championships in Ruhpolding. In December 2010 she suffered from a cold, missing the season's first World Cup in Östersund for the second year in a row. She started the 2010–11 season in Hochfilzen, where she managed two seventh-place finishes, and was part of the winning German relay team. At the third stop of the season in Pokljuka, she won the sprint race in spite of two shooting errors, claiming her 20th career victory.
Neuner is the most successful female biathlete in the history of Biathlon World Championships. She has won seventeen medals, twelve gold, four silver and one bronze. At her debut during the 2007 World Championships in Antholz, Italy, Neuner won three titles (sprint, pursuit and relay). One year later at the 2008 World Championships in Östersund, Sweden, she again claimed three gold medals, winning the mass start, relay and mixed relay events. Neuner did not win a title at the 2009 World Championships in Pyeongchang, South Korea; her best result was the silver medal in the relay event. She won her second mixed relay gold in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, in 2010. At the 2011 World Championships, she won three more titles (sprint, mass start, relay) and two silver medals (pursuit and mixed relay). At her final championships in 2012, Neuner won her world titles eleven (sprint) and twelve (relay), as well as her fourth silver (pursuit) and her first bronze medal (mixed relay).
Neuner continued the winter with mixed results in January 2011. She reached the podium in the sprints of Oberhof and Ruhpolding, coming in second and third respectively. In the relay in Oberhof, Neuner was part of Germany's team coming in sixth place, the team's worst result since 2005. She also had her worst personal result in 13 months, finishing in 16th place in the Ruhpolding individual race, which ended her streak of 24 consecutive top ten finishes (including 15 podiums and 6 wins). At the World Cup in Antholz, Neuner again struggled with illness. She only participated in the concluding mass start, coming in 6th place.
At the 2011 World Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, Neuner won three gold and two silver medals. She claimed silver, alongside Andrea Henkel, Arnd Peiffer and Michael Greis, in the opening mixed relay. On 5 March 2011, Neuner won the sprint race courtesy of a clean shooting performance. She finished second in the pursuit and fifth in the individual subsequently. On 12 March 2011, Neuner won her second title in the mass start despite of four shooing errors. The following day she also claimed gold in the women's relay, together with Andrea Henkel, Miriam Gössner and Tina Bachmann. Running the last leg for Germany, Neuner started in fourth, 67.5 seconds off the lead, but she pulled back the entire time and moved in front on the last lap. Her five medals made her the most successful female athlete in the history of Biathlon World Championships.
Before the start of the 2011–12 season, Neuner hinted the upcoming season might be her last. She began the winter in Östersund with the best season start of her career, beating Tora Berger by 0.2 seconds in the sprint to claim her 25th World Cup win. She also came third in the individual and the pursuit, and took the yellow bib of the Overall World Cup leader. On 6 December 2011, Neuner announced her retirement from biathlon by the end of the season on her homepage. She explained her early departure from the sport (at age 25) with a lack of motivation and her desire for a normal life. Neuner nonetheless continued her good form in Hochfilzen, where she claimed her 26th World Cup win in the sprint.
At the 2012 World Championships in Ruhpolding, Neuner won bronze in the opening mixed relay, alongside Andrea Henkel, Andreas Birnbacher and Arnd Peiffer. On 3 March 2012, she claimed her 11th world title in the sprint race courtesy of her clean shooting. Neuner dropped to second place one day later in the pursuit, in which Domracheva overtook her at the final shooting bout. During the second week of the championships, Neuner often struggled with her shooting. She only reached 23rd place in the individual – her worst world championships result ever. With Tina Bachmann, Miriam Gössner and Andrea Henkel she won her second gold medal in Ruhpolding in the women's relay on 10 March 2012, despite incurring a penalty loop. In the concluding mass start, Neuner came in tenth place, with six shooting mistakes in total. Her 12th gold medal made her the second most successful biathlete of all time at world championships, behind male record holder Ole Einar Bjørndalen.
Having led the standings uninterruptedly since the second race of the winter, Neuner won her third Overall World Cup title at the season final in Russia, where she claimed her 34th and final World Cup win in the sprint. Neuner also won the 2011–12 Sprint World Cup thanks to an unprecedented eight out of ten sprint wins. With ten victories in total, her final World Cup season was the most successful in her career. She also became only the second woman after Magdalena Forsberg to win the overall title more than twice. On 18 March 2012, Neuner ended her biathlon career with a sixth place in the Khanty-Mansiysk mass start.
Magdalena was in a two-year relationship with fellow biathlete Franz Perwein.
Currently, Magdalena Neuner is 35 years, 11 months and 21 days old. Magdalena Neuner will celebrate 36th birthday on a Thursday 9th of February 2023. Below we countdown to Magdalena Neuner upcoming birthday.